I Suspect My Child Might Have Dyslexia
It is Dyslexia week, and we had a chat with the British Dyslexia Association, to help us understand about the condition and how parents can help their children. In the UK there is no mandatory training for school teachers to recognize certain learning difficulties. Without a diagnosis, appropiate support can't be provided and this can greatly affect a child's self-esteem and confidence. We need the UK to follow the example of countries such as Austria, where teachers are trained and able to support kids in the classroom.
“Dyslexia is a hidden (not visible) disability that mainly affects the development of literacy skills such as reading, writing and spelling. Short-term memory, mathematical ability, concentration levels, personal organisation and the ability to put things in sequence may also be affected.” Suffolk Dyslexia Association
What is the one question parents ask when they call you?
The majority of parents want their kids assessed when they haven't had any luck at their local schools.
At what age can a dyslexia diagnosis be confirmed?
It is extremely hard to get a diagnosis before the age of 8. Kids develop differently and other conditions need to be disregarded, therefore, parents have to wait until their kids are older to get a more accurate diagnosis.
What do I need to do if I think my child has dyslexia?
If you suspect your child might have dyslexia, you need to go to his/her school and explain your concerns to the teacher. You can also take a look at the school’s Information Report and Special Needs Policy which should be shared on their website; in these documents they lay down the process on how children get identified and what support they can provide. You can also speak to the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) at your school.
Where does my child get assessed?
If the school thinks it is necessary, they should have someone, a member of staff and a process in place. Otherwise, you can call the British Dyslexia Association and they will advise you where to go. Some parents choose to get an independent report; however, as valuable as that can be for the parents, schools are not obliged to accept it.
Can I go to my GP for support?
In the UK, dyslexia is an educational issue, contrary to other countries in Europe, where dyslexia is considered a medical issue. This means that educational bodies assess and provide support rather than your GP or your local hospital. However, if you feel your child is being affected psychologically and the school is taking no notice, you can get your GP to support your request to be assessed; the NHS does not provide assessment services, sadly, this is possibly the only disability that they don’t assess for.
Once my child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, are they eligible for an educational statement or support from school?
Your child is only eligible according to what the school’s Special Needs Policies mandates. Schools are only obliged to make sure that children perform at their chronological ages level, if the child is severely dyslexic but very intelligent and performing like the rest of the class they probably won't get any help at all. There is no mandatory training to understand specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia in the UK, therefore, unless your child’s school have a trained teacher, there will be little support.
Can I get disability living allowance?
Your child is not likely to get disability living allowance even with severe dyslexia, unless there are other conditions involved.
My child will take his/her GCSE would they need to be assessed to make sure he/she gets the right support?
There is no need for a diagnosis when taking GCSE exams, special arrangements can be requested and done through your child’s school. Some parents buy an assessment thinking their kids will get extra time, but independent assessments aren't accepted.
Should I hire a private teacher?
Parents find it helpful and trained teachers can help with tuition, however, the school is not obliged to take on board any recommendations made by an independent advisor.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to parents?
A child with dyslexia can be low in low self-esteem, lack of confidence or have behavioural difficulties. Find things your child is good at, work on their self esteem, praise them, encourage them, focus on what they are good at.
Is there any funding available or private tuition?
Unfortunately, there is no funding available for children with dyslexia
What should you look out for in children?
If you tick yes to all of them, you may wish to seek advice. (taken from Suffolk Dyslexia association)
Is your child bright in some ways with a “block” in others?
Do you feel your child is able, but struggles with reading, writing and spelling?
Does he/she takes ages to read a book- and understand it?
Does he/she have difficulty carrying out instructions in sequence?
Was he/she slow learning to talk?
Does he/she put letters or figures the wrong way round - for example 15 for 51 and b for d?
Does he/she have difficulty with time and tense?
Does he/she have difficulty with mental arithmetic?
Does he/she confused with left and right?
Does he/she answer questions orally but has difficulty writing the answer?
Does he/she have poor sense of rhyme?
For support you can contact:
- Suffolk Dyslexia Association. Sadly their helpline isn’t operational anymore but there is useful information on their website.
- Suffolk County Council Schools in Suffolk booklet – apply to the Admissions Team for a copy 0845 600 0981 www.suffolk.gov.uk/admissionstoschools SCC also send out this useful leaflet regarding Dyslexia Front Page of Dyslexia leaflet, back page of leaflet
- Your School SEN Policy and SEN Information Report available on school website
- SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Advice, Information and Support Service) Helpline: 01473 265210. An information Leaflet: “Raising Concerns”
- The British Dyslexia Association Tel: 03334 054 567. Helpline open Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 10-1pm